Hi, I’m Ilse

I’m a Motivational Speaker and Vitality Performance Coach for women who want to achieve more from life and create their dream life with success, energy, vitality and happiness.

At the age of 19, I had a very serious accident (my second one!) in which I nearly died. My life changed in a split second. Seven years later, I was para-badminton World Champion and now, I am a frequently invited guest for presentations because I have a “good” story.

(but more on my story in a second!).

Right now, this isn’t about me. This is about you, and I want you to know that I get you.

I know what it’s like to be constantly stressed working 80 hours per week to climb a ladder you’re not even sure you want to be on. I fell victim to the same “success story” for years, before I realized that there’s more to life. I realized that there’s more in life when I started to sport seven years ago.

I was a slave to my job, constantly fatigued and drained because I was too focused on reaching the top (and pleasing everybody else) that I’d completely forgotten what was truly important to me. I was lucky that my body, because of my permanent injury and pain, says stop before I totally severe burn out. The stop was right on time. If it was a few weeks later, it was to late and I had a totally burn out.

Sound familiar? Well, lovely, I’m just getting started. Settle in, because my story is good!!

Unfortunately, I had to miss many things when I was young due to permanent back problems. An accident at the age of 11, when I was riding my bike, ended my carefree youth. I was told regularly that I was dramatizing things or that I grew too fast while I lost a lot of function in my legs (I could hardly stand on them!). I started to doubt myself. Could I really be so wrong? However, I did not believe I was wrong: the pain was real and I had given up my future top sports career as a professional badminton player because I could barely walk.

I know right?

But it wasn’t until I was 16, some 5 years later, that I was correctly diagnosed. My lower intervertebral disc was broken, which meant the nerves were kind of stuck. Long story short, I had two surgeries and lots of rehabilitation over 18 months just to get to a point where I could walk, but not without extreme nerve pain.

But to me, the worst news of all was that I’d never play my beloved badminton again. So I did what was expected, went to College and got a degree in graphic design instead.

It has had many consequences on my teenage years. I could not go out with friends, and I always had to choose between doing something fun (and not being able to do anything for a couple of weeks!) or not joining the fun. I have always relied on my instinct. There was always the urge to continue and to fight because I knew something was wrong. I have often made the choice to do fun things, which led to me having to stay in bed, barely being able to move a leg.

But that’s not all of it. At the age of 19, 6 months after finishing rehabilitation for my first accident, I was hit by a car and nearly died.

It was an early Monday morning. I was waiting for a car before crossing the road with my bicycle. The driver had worked whole night. Because of fatique and that he was blinded by the early morning sun he lost control over his car and drove in to me with approximately 50 miles an hour. Every day I’m still grateful that I have survived this!

When I woke up in the hospital, I was luckily that I was living. There was so much nerve damage in my back and legs and so many muscles and tendons in my legs were torn that it would be difficult to walk to the normal way. That hit me hard. Nevertheless, I was determined to walk again someday!

For more than a year, I focused on my recovery by staying positive, continuing to fight, persevering, and telling myself that someday, I would walk again, even if it was going to take me ten years. And yes, I started walking again.

It was a long, hard experience, but I managed to walk small distances again using crutches. By staying positive, persevering, having the right mindset, finding my boundaries, and determining my own course rather than what doctors wanted, I did it. It was not easy at all. Every day, I fought to achieve my goal. I had cranky days because things failed. I felt so sad and powerless that I cried. Still, I also laughed a lot and, above all, I never gave up. And I still do not give up. Every day, I try my best to walk the little distance I can with my crutches. I have to do many exercises for it every day; it takes six hours of physiotherapy a week. Yet, I keep going to keep it like that. Every day, I have to accept that my lower back and legs are in great pain.

I am often asked what my life would be like if I had not experienced this. I have no idea! I also do not know if I want to have missed this. I learned so much about myself. I am persistent, I am bold, I am brave, I am always positive, I can trust my intuition, I always keep smiling, and I can get over bad days. I know I can rely on my instinct and I dare to make my own choices. I have discovered that even something this horrific cannot bring me to my knees. Because of these experiences, I believe that if you really want something, you can have it or do it.

After a few years in the wheelchair and walking small distances with crutches, I decided that I wanted to play sports. I went back to my old passion: badminton. Because I was not able to play standing up, which I do feel bad about sometimes, I decided to take on the challenge in the wheelchair. Hitting a shuttlecock once a week to exercise and meet new people was a great way for me to accept my limitations. It was more than a hobby as it soon became top sports. Every morning and every evening, I went to practice before and after work. I only had one goal: I wanted to be wheelchair badminton World Champion.

Wheelchair badminton World Champion

It was November 26, 2011. I participated in the Para-Badminton World Championship in Guatemala and this day, I played against a South Korean woman in the Singles final. Me being in the final, with my talent and perseverance, is unique because badminton is dominated by the Asian countries. I had won the first set and was leading the second set with 17-12. I saw my life flash before my eyes when I was leading with 17-12. That was also the moment I knew that I was going to be World Champion. I continued the game and won. What a mighty feeling that was! Being able to say that you are the best of the world at that moment is just so cool.

I am now a former World Champion and I have won multiple European and Dutch singles, doubles, and mixed doubles championships. I have worked very hard for it: working about sixty hours a week at an employer, strength training, and three to four hours of court training every day. I put aside everything to make my ultimate dream come true. It was so amazing when that finally happened!

Because I have had to miss so much in my youth, I still sometimes feel as if I have to catch up. As a result, my life is always busy: I am an entrepreneur, and founder of my own foundation to make para-badminton more popular, I train abled and disabled badminton players for more than 10 hours a week. With success, two of my youth players are so good that they are playing in the National Team right now, I also train for para-tennis a few times a week (I am a top athlete in wheelchair tennis too), I play tournaments, and I often meet with friends. In short, twenty-four hours a day is often too little.

Such a busy schedule is fine as long as everything is fun to do. During the time I worked for employers, I regularly had a good job, making many extra hours. As soon as I do not like one thing out of the many things I do, I notice that my life is out of balance and consequently, everything takes so much effort and drains me.

My world champion title has brought me a lot, in the most positive sense of the word. I am regularly asked to be a motivational speaker at conventions and meetings. I have become an example for many others.

I didn’t let the tiny problem of not having use of my legs stop me from achieving my dreams.

The many setbacks but also the peaks have made me who I am: a strong, powerful, unique, and energetic power lady who lived her own brave life!

The thing is, I truly believe that every single woman has a powerful inner strength and that you are brave beyond measure. I also believe that life is meant to be lived and on your own terms, not somebody’s else’s!

Lovely, you have everything you need inside of you to live a brave, powerful, fulfilled life, you just need to be tap into your natural ability and you’ll reach unimaginable heights of happiness, success and energy.

Work with me now

My mission is to show others that they can be empowered by their own inner strength and perseverance and by following their own feelings, thereby achieving what they want. Watching life from the beaten track as is expected of you is fine but is that really what you want? You can only create a vital, balanced, and energetic life with perseverance and power; you will have to make choices, say no (even if you think everything is fun) and, most of all, follow your instinct. I can help you make these steps easier for you. After all, it is wonderful to have your life give you lots of energy, to have your work and private life be in balance and to feel empowered.

Work with me now

Professional bio

I am an entrepreneur, and founder of my own foundation (Para-Badminton Foundation Ilse van de Burgwal) to make para-badminton more popular, I train abled and disabled badminton players for more than 10 hours a week.

With success, two of my youth players are so good that they are playing in the National Team right now and I’ve been very successful with players with autism (a few players go through my way of coaching to a normal school, nobody expected that that would be possible for them!).

I also train for para-tennis a few times a week (I am a top athlete in wheelchair tennis too), I play tournaments, I’m a motivational speaker, I often meet with friends and I really love to walk with my dog.

In short, twenty-four hours a day is often too little.

My vision

Be bold, be brave, be you …… Everything is possible!

I believe every woman is unique. It takes courage to be yourself, to follow your instinct, and to make your own choices. I specialize in helping women find their balance with much energy, vitality, and happiness. If you succeed, you are truly bold, brave, and yourself.

My passion is to get the best out of women: letting them shine, making them feel empowered, and having them enjoy life again! A positive attitude, powerful, unique, energetic, and inspirational are keywords that best express me. I would like to work with a unique woman like you and share all my secrets with you. I would like to teach you how to live a balanced, healthy, happy, and successful life every day, making you feel empowered. Let me guide you and I will show you how!

I enjoy life every day! Every day, I strive to make the people around me feel happy, powerful, and energetic. To me, it does not matter whether those people are my loved ones, my friends or the powerful women that are my clients.

Due to major setbacks and difficult times as well as all the peaks, I have learned to live and appreciate life to the fullest extent in a grand and courageous way. Everything is possible!

You are able to create and live this dream life of balance, energy, and joy. Whether you are part of the demanding corporate world or you own a business, I know that I can help you get to where you want to be and I know that you can do it!

Do you want the energetic and balanced dream life? Do you want to feel empowered and enjoy yourself every day, like me? Do you want to feel as if this is possible for the rest of your life too? Work with me and I will show you how!

Work with me now!